Warriors can't solve Kings

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Warriors can't solve Kings

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- David Lee wasn’t hearing any of it.

“The gas is always up, our gas is fine, don’t worry about that,” the Golden State Warriors’ forward said with a blend of humor and emphasis.

The Warriors, playing their eighth road contest in nine games, had their worst defensive game of the season in a 131-127 loss to the host Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.

While the team doesn’t allow excuses to cloud losses, logic says that eventually the car will run out of gas, even if it just a short trip to Sacramento.

The loss in Sacramento came on the second night of a home-road, back-to-back, following Tuesday night’s home win against New Orleans that followed a season-long, seven-game road trip.

Lee acknowledged that even the 90-minute bus trip to Sacramento still has the same road feel, but to the tune of Mark Jackson’s team mantra, he won’t let an excuse cloud a loss.

“It probably didn’t help that we played yesterday, but we’re not going to use that as an excuse,” said Lee, who scored 29 points and tallied eight rebounds and five assists.

“We need to have more energy than we did and it showed, not so much on the offensive end but defensively.”

It was Golden State’s worst defensive effort of the season, as the team allowed a season-worst 131 points on 50 percent shooting. The Warriors previous worst defensive effort came on Nov. 18 in Oklahoma City when they allowed 119 points to the Thunder.

Jackson wouldn’t even entertain the thought of weary legs after extended road games, making a point in his postgame news conference to directly answer any questions of fatigue with the simple adage: “We’re a no-excuse basketball team.”

The Warriors trailed by as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter, but came back to lead 117-114 with 4:33 remaining in the game.

Playing down to the competition
With the Warriors’ last three losses coming to teams below .500, the Warriors coach was asked if perhaps his team was playing down to the competition.

“That’s comical, man,” Jackson said. “We are a team that can be beaten by the best and can be beaten by the worst. We need to play our brand of basketball to stay successful and when we don’t we can be disappointing.”

Warriors surge behind Curry
On the same night they allowed the most points of the season, the Warriors also scored a season-high 127 points. Jarrett Jack scored 28 points and had seven rebounds off the bench.

Trailing 104-90 early in the fourth quarter, the Warriors took the lead with 6:23 remaining in the fourth quarter at 112-111 on one of Stephen Curry’s seven three-pointers.

The Warriors star guard, with 32 points on the night, fouled out with just more than two minutes remaining and the game tied at 118-118. Curry shot 8-for-14 in the second half, after a cold 3-for-10 first half. Curry added six rebounds and four assists.

Kings hang on
The Kings gained separation in the final moments with three-pointers by Aaron Brooks and Marcus Thornton and held on in the final minutes.

The Kings had seven players in double-digits, led by a team-high 24 points by DeMarcus Cousins. Aaron Brooks added a season-high 23 points for Sacramento.

The Warriors trailed most of the game until the fourth quarter, falling behind early 33-24 at the end of the first quarter after shooting 38.5 percent. Jarrett Jack showed guts on a wide-open, pull-up three-pointer in transition to cut the lead to 109-106 with 7:20 remaining.

The Warriors fell behind early, trailing 33-24 at the end of the first quarter after shooting 38.5 percent.

Offensive effort inside goes wasted
When the Warriors stayed patient, they had no problem finding looks in the paint on one-timers. But they also couldn’t defend the key, and they were outscored 50-44 in the paint.

Golden State outrebounded the Kings 42-40. Usually winning the rebound battle is a telling sign of a win, but the Warriors now fall to 16-2 when securing more rebounds than their opponent.

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Kerr clarifies Cousins' lack of NBA All-Star Game minutes

Kerr clarifies Cousins' lack of NBA All-Star Game minutes

OAKLAND -- Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday that the limited minutes allotted to former Kings center DeMarcus Cousins in the All-Star Game Sunday was unrelated to a pending trade.

Cousins played only two minutes -- the shortest stint by any All-Star since Connie Hawkins in 1971 -- because that was the big man’s wish.

“I asked every guy before the game started how much they wanted to play,” said Kerr, who coached the Western Conference All-Stars for the second time in three seasons. “He told me he wanted to play two minutes. He was serious. He said he was banged up. It had nothing to do with (a trade).”

After six-plus seasons in Sacramento, Cousins was traded to New Orleans shortly after the All-Star Game, with the official announcement coming Monday.

Kerr initially thought Cousins was requesting to be limited to two minutes per half. When Kerr and assistant coach Mike Brown conveyed that plan, Cousins was quick to clarify.

“He said, ‘No, no: two minutes total,’” Kerr recalled.

When Kerr pointed out that Cousins actually played two minutes, 24 seconds, the newest Pelican flashed a sense of humor.

“I went over? By 24 seconds?” Cousins said. “That should be a fine for you, coach.”

Warriors big men Pachulia, West close to return

Warriors big men Pachulia, West close to return

OAKLAND -- The Warriors reconvened Wednesday and received good news, going through a light scrimmage that for the first time in weeks included centers Zaza Pachulia and David West.

The better news for the Warriors is that both were upgraded to questionable and could return as soon as Thursday night, when they face the Clippers at Oracle Arena.

“I would say there’s a good chance both of them would play tomorrow,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We’ll see.”

Pachulia has missed the last eight games after straining his right rotator cuff on Jan. 29 at Portland.

“The pain is gone,” Pachulia told CSNBayArea.com. “I can’t say I’ll be cleared, but there is no more pain.”

Pachulia is expected to reclaim his starting role despite Kerr’s acknowledging that JaVale McGee has been “fantastic” while starting the last eight games.

“I haven’t decided yet,” Kerr said. “I’ve got to make that decision. I want to make sure first that (Pachulia) is healthy. And it depends, too, on what happens with David. Is David healthy? Are they both playing? There’s kind of a domino effect on all of this stuff.

“I would anticipate that, ultimately, Zaza will be back starting. I liked that whole rotation. JaVale has helped us dramatically, and he’ll be playing a role. It’s a center-by-committee situation. But right away, we’ll see how we play it.”

West has missed the last 14 games with a non-displaced fracture in his left thumb, sustained Jan. 18 against Oklahoma City.

West was to undergo an X-ray late Wednesday, after which it was anticipated he would receive a clean slate.

The only players that did not scrimmage are All-Stars Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. All four were given an extra day off in the wake of their participation in All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.

“Just being in New Orleans for those four days, there’s no rest whatsoever,” Kerr said. “Those are the guys who played the most minutes. The All-Star break is such a great time to recharge.”